World War 2 Facts

Information and Facts on the Great War

World War 2 Casualties

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World War 2 was the bloodiest conflict in human history. There were more than 60 million World War 2 casualties resulting in death which at the time was more than 2.5% of the overall world population. The war was notable for the Nazi-sponsored genocide of the Jewish peoples resulting in more than 5.9 million deaths, and the impact of “Total War” on the world’s population.

History of Accounting for the War Dead from World War 2

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a significant amount of research conducted regarding the topic of World War 2 casualties with the resulting opening of previously closed scholarly resources. Current estimates now show that the number of war dead within the postwar borders total 26.6 million individuals. Within Poland, the IPN (Polish Institute of National Remembrance) places their estimated war dead between 5.6 and 5.8 million people. Depending on the definitions placed on deaths or casualties that resulted from warfare or crimes against humanity by historians, the figures will vary across resources.

World War 2 Casualties (Pie Chart)

WorldWarII-DeathsByAlliance-Piechart

Piechart showing percentage of military and civilian deaths during World War II for the Allied and the Axis Powers.

World War 2 Casualty Tables

The totals listed are approximate and based on a variety of sources.

World War 2 Total Deaths

COUNTRY CASUALTIES
Soviet Union

26,600,000

China

15,000,000

Germany

7,728,000

Poland

5,700,000

Japan

2,700,000

India

2,087,000

Yugoslavia

1,027,000

Rumania

833,000

Hungary

580,000

France

567,600

Greece

560,000

Italy

456,000

Great Britain

449,800

United States

418,500

Czechoslovakia

345,000

Netherlands

301,000

Austria

123,700

Finland

97,000

Belgium

86,100

Canada

45,300

Australia

40,500

Bulgaria

25,000

New Zealand

11,900

South Africa

11,900

Norway

9,500

Spain

4,500

Denmark

3,200

TOTAL:

65,811,500

World War 2 Casualties (Military Deaths)

NATION CASUALTIES
Soviet Union

9,750,000

Germany

5,533,000

China

3,500,000

Japan

2,120,000

Yugoslavia

446,000

United States

416,800

Great Britain

382,700

Italy

301,400

Rumania

300,000

Poland

240,000

France

217,600

Finland

95,000

India

87,000

Philippines

57,000

Canada

45,300

Australia

39,800

Bulgaria

22,000

Netherlands

21,000

Belgium

12,100

New Zealand

11,900

South Africa

11,900

Spain

4,500

Norway

3,000

Denmark

2,100

TOTAL:

23,620,100

World War 2 Jewish Deaths By Country

COUNTRY

CASUALTIES

Poland

3,000,000

Ukraine

900,000

Hungary

450,000

Russia

352,000

Romania

300,000

Baltic Countries

228,000

Germany/Austria

210,000

Netherlands

105,000

France

90,000

Slovakia

75,000

Greece

54,000

Belgium

40,000

Yugoslavia

26,000

Bulgaria

14,000

Italy

8,000

Luxembourg

1,000

Norway

900

TOTAL:

5,907,900

U.S. Military World War 2 Medal of Honor Recipients

The U.S. Medal of Honor was first created during the U.S. Civil War and is the highest military award or decoration presented by the

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day

Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008.

government to members of the armed forces. In order to receive the medal, the individual must have put their own life at risk while performing beyond the call of duty against an enemy of the U.S. Based on the nature of the medal it is commonly awarded posthumously (after death). During World War 2 a total of 464 Medal of Honors were awarded with 266 of those posthumously. 42 of the medals were awarded for action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (15) and 27 during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The only Medal of Honor ever awarded to a member of the US Coast Guard was during World War 2.

ARMY

USN

USMC

USAAF

USCG

POSTHUMOUS

TOTAL

324

57

82

0

1

266

464

World War 2 Casualties (Civilian Deaths)

As time moves on, and previously closed records become released the full toll of World War 2 on the civilian populations has become better recognized. Specifically the fall of Communism and the opening of records in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and other countries have helped modern historians make a better accounting of the number of civilian casualties suffered during World War 2. The totals below should be treated as approximate figures.

COUNTRY

CASUALTIES

China

11,500,000

Soviet Union

13,204,000

Poland

2,400,000

Germany

2,035,000

India

2,000,000

Philippines

750,000

Japan

580,000

Yugoslavia

514,000

France

267,000

Netherlands

176,000

Italy

145,100

Great Britain

67,100

Rumania

64,000

Austria

58,700

Belgium

49,600

Spain

10,000

Norway

5,800

Bulgaria

3,000

Finland

2,000

United States

1,700

TOTAL:

33,833,000

World War 2 Casualties Video

World War 2 Casualty Resources

The U.S. National Archives has a number of World War 2 Casualty resources that range across the U.S. Armed Forces as well as a number of records regarding other nations. The official U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Records branch (Bureau of Naval Personnel) still maintains the Navy and Marine Corps’ 1947 IBM printout arranged chronologically by campaign annotating the official World War 2 casualty accounting. Listed beneath each campaign are the ships and units in alphabetic order followed by the personnel casualties by last number. Each sailor or marine’s service number, rank, rate, casualty code, and date of casualty are listed. The original and supplementary records have since been transferred to the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration located at: 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

 

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